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UN chief visits Indonesia quake, tsunami survivors



Antonio Guterres

Jakarta, Oct 12 (IANS) UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday visited the survivors of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi killing 2,073 people.

Accompanied by Indonesia´s Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Guterres examined the damage caused by the September 28 disaster in the city of Palu, reports Efe news.

More than 75 per cent of the 2,073 fatalities, according to the latest official data, occurred in this city where giant tsunami waves caused havoc to areas located hundreds of meters from the coast.

The UN chief also plans to visit Palu’s Balaroa neighbourhood, where thousands of homes were swallowed up by land liquefaction, a phenomenon that occurs when a strong shaking, such as that of an earthquake, liquefies soft soil, making the affected terrain sink and release waves of mud.

According to local estimates, some 5,000 people remain missing in Balaroa and the town of Petobo.

On Thursday, the authorities extended the search and rescue mission for survivors for another 24 hours, which will conclude at the end of Friday.

A team of 15 rescue personnel will remain in the area waiting for local requests to evacuate victims, Yusuf Latif, spokesperson for the national search and rescue agency in Palu, told Efe.

Rescue teams have not found a single survivor under the rubble for more than a week. Indonesian authorities said they will turn the areas most affected by the quake into memorial parks.

The catastrophe on Sulawesi Island is the worst experienced by Indonesia since the tsunami swept the western province of Aceh in 2004, killing 167,000 people.

The Indonesian archipelago is situated within the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, an area known for its intense seismic and volcanic activity, which produce about 7,000 earthquakes each year, most of which are of moderate magnitude.

Middle East

Khashoggi’s murder was planned affair: Erdogan

The President said that information and evidence show that Khashoggi fell victim to a brutal murder.




Ankara, Oct 23 : Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said that the country’s security services have evidence that dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder was a planned affair.

He made the remarks while speaking at a parliamentary group meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) here, reports Hurriyet Daily News.

“Turkish security services have evidence that the murder was a planned affair. Turkey and the world will only be satisfied when all the planners and perpetrators are held to account,” the President said.

“Other countries must participate in the investigation.”

Erdogan claimed that Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, first came to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on September 28 to get his marriage documents. The “roadmap” to kill Khashoggi started with this visit.

He said that a day before Khashoggi disappeared on October 2, a group of three Saudis landed in Istanbul and went to the consulate while another team visited the Belgrad Forest near the city and the neighbouring Yalova province.

“On October 2, another group came and this 15-member team went to the consulate and removed the hard disks of security cameras there. Khashoggi’s went inside that afternoon and never appeared again while his fiancee waited outside,” Erdogan said.

It was later found that 15 Saudis including intelligence officers and forensics experts came to Turkey ahead of Khashoggi’s visit.

“I spoke to (Saudi) King Salman on October 14 and formed a joint investigation team. This is how our officials could enter the consulate and the consul’s residence… Seventeen days after the killing, Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate.

“We held another phone call and they told us that 18 Saudis, including people from the 15-member team we exposed, were arrested in Saudi Arabia,” he added.

The President said that information and evidence show that Khashoggi fell victim to a brutal murder.

“We have strong evidence that the killing was intentional, not accidental. Now we expect them to punish all those who played a part in the murder.”

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Google opens public voting for ‘Doodle 4 Google’ contest




New Delhi, Oct 23: Google on Tuesday opened public online voting for 20 children shortlisted for its annual ‘Doodle 4 Google’ competition.

The annual competition, announced early in August, encouraged creative, art-loving students across India to bring their imagination to life for the search engine giant’s logo.

This year’s theme was “what inspires you”. The doodle, incorporating letters G-o-o-g-l-e, were to be created using crayons, clay, water colours and graphic design.

From a beautiful sight at the beach to nature’s tiny creatures; India’s farmer community to the Indian folk music; space exploration to learning from animals; children drew their inspiration using crayons, clay and graphic designs, the tech giant said in a statement.

Of the 75,000 students, from Class 1 to 10, across the country who sent in their entries, more than 55 per cent were from non-metro cities, including Visakhapatnam, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Bareilly, Kottayam and Bhubaneswar.

Out of these, Google shortlisted 20 from five categories: Group 1 comprising students from Class 1 to 2; Group 2 with students from Class 3 to 4; Group 3 with students from Class 5 to 6; Group 4 with students from Class 7 to 8 and Group 5 with students from Class 9 to 10.

The online voting, which began on Tuesday, will continue till November 6 (until 10 a.m.). People can cast their votes on the Doodle 4 Google 2018 voting page.

The doodle with the maximum votes will get featured on Google’s home page on Children’s Day that falls on November 14.

The national winner would win a Rs 5 lakh college scholarship, a Rs 2 lakh technology package for their school, as well as a trip to the Google office in India, among other prizes, the company said.

The first edition of “Doodle 4 Google India” was held in 2009 and the theme was “My India”.

The same contest also ran in regions including Canada, Latin America and other Asian countries.


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Every community should say rape is not acceptable: Unicef chief




New Delhi, Oct 23: Helping each other, talking, staying connected and learning to say no can help women protect themselves and others from rapes and sexual assaults, says Unicef Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore, who suggests that “every community should stand up and say rape is not acceptable”.

“Speaking up, having a voice in the community, having faith-based leaders who intervene and say this is not right, this the way we should treat our girls, women and also that we should never have rape, never have sexual assault or exploitation — all of these things help,” Fore told IANS during a visit here.

She also said behavioural attitudes will only change “if we change our hearts”.

“Another thing which can help is girls helping girls. You talk to each other about what is safe, what is not safe, where you can safely go; that girls know that they can say no and also that they know how and when to say no. That you move in a group of three so that you can protect each other or you can stay connected on email and text. All these will help in changing the attitude and behaviour,” Fore explained.

She also said that the community also plays an important role in giving a sense of respect to girls and women to bring change.

“If every community begins to stand up and say rape is not acceptable then more people will begin to look after women in their community,” Fore said.

She also believed that separate toilets and well-lit spaces, along with community patrolling, also helps.

“If the whole community is protecting their girls, the situation will improve. Every community should stand up and say rape is not acceptable. It takes a nation, it takes a community to stand up for girls and protect them,” she said.

Talking about sanitation in India, she said it has turned into a movement.

“It is a movement here in India and it is something only a few of our countries have seen. But it has changed how Indians feel about sanitation. It is good for the community and also for the quality of life of its people.

“There has been a remarkable progress (in the field of sanitation) in India and those of us who live in other countries are respectful and admiring the leadership exhibited by the Indian government.”

She also said proper toilets will help in empowering women and girls in the community. “This has also helped girls go ahead with higher education.”

“It will not only help in increasing the number of girls going to school but will also help in bringing drop-outs back to school. Bringing girls back to school will be a great achievement for the society,” she added.

The movement, she added, will need to continue until it achieves 100 per cent of its target.

“Just building toilets is not enough. We need to have trained people and good technology to maintain these toilets.”

She also said good sanitation practices in India had led to lower deaths among children under five and has also helped in bringing up healthier children.

“Fewer children are getting diseases, fewer children are getting vulnerable. The sanitation movement in India has helped save more lives,” Fore maintained.


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